Sociological explanations of under achievement.

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Sociological explanations of under achievement

Maihan Safi


Wednesday 10th December 2003

Sociological explanations of under achievement

This essay is about some sociological explanations of underachievement in education. There are many different reasons for differential educational achievement, some of these will be explored in this essay many people believe that the differences in achievement is due to the individual’s attitude towards working in the school environment, However by comparing different factors in a child’s life it can be seen that their attitudes are not the only that can affect how they learn. We are going to have a look at some main sociological theories including functionalists, Marxists, interactionists, black and feminists’ views about underachievement of certain groups of people in certain places.

According to the evidence and research of Emile Durkhiem one of the founding fathers of sociology and his frame work about education could be argue that “He saw the major function of education as the transmission of society’s norms and values” (Harlambos,H 1995), so according to the above evidence we can say that education system benefits society by passing on its culture, norms and values through generations ensuring value consensus and thus social order. The second issue that we are going to focus is their views on underachievement, As the American sociologists Talcott persons argued that “schools operate on meritocratic principles status is achieved on the basis of merit (or worth)” (Harlambos,H,1995) he believes that schools and society are meritocratic, and such all are treated equally so it means that everybody has the same opportunity to succeed, in addition he believes that it is important to ensure that the most able people are motivated to fill the most important positions, he also argued that pupils in schools are treated equally and do bad or well due to their own ability. Moreover meritocratic system is beneficial because it also serves the needs of individuals by giving them the equal chance of education which allows all to achieve due to their talent and ability with no discrimination based on their class, gender, background and ethnicity. Is the functionalists’ perspective on education system good enough? Yes because meritocratic way of educating children provides them with specific skills needed to help them to become consensual members of society and also maintain the interest of the individuals who receives good education and equal opportunity so they can do well as their peers, So finally could be suggested that “Both the winners (high achievers) and the losers (the low achievers) will see the system just fair” (Harlambos, H 1995).

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The second theory that we focus on is the Marxists theory about education and underachievement, they believes that ruling class rule also as thinkers or producer of ideas further more from their views it could be argued that ruling class ideology is so effective to domination than the forms of coercion such as physical force. Louis Althusser a French Marxist philosopher argues that no class can have power for a long by use of their force so through ideology they can have more effective control because if people’s accept everything by their hearts and minds then force becomes un ...

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